What do we do when we attempt to speak the truth about ourselves? What makes this possible? Who makes sense of it? At what points in history did speaking about oneself emerge as a privileged activity? Or, more precisely, how and under what circumstances did the self turn reflexive, becoming, in Judith Butler’s words, a “self-narrating being”?2 The history of the self with which we are perhaps most familiar traces the emergence of key notions—inwardness, responsibility, corporeal and psychic realities, and self-reflexivity, for instance—in a trajectory that extends from Plato through Augustine to Descartes, often with a brief chapter reserved for Montaigne. This account privileges social and spiritual elites and the cultivation of self-reflexivity in their writings—for writing is a medium that traditionally favors the pursuit of self-reflexivity. To this classical account represented by Charles Taylor among others,3 we can juxtapose Foucault’s history of the subject, an entirely different account of the coming into being of the “I”—now perhaps no less a classic in its own right. Foucault’s history, presented in the first volume of L’Histoire de la sexualité, emphasizes not the great works of great men, not even key philosophical categories such as responsibility, autonomy, or inwardness, but instead an obscure corpus of confessional manuals, an institutional context (at the intersection of law and religion), and the famous notion of “subjection” (assujettissement) that brings the subject into existence. The foundational event in Foucault’s history of the subject is not Augustine’s Confessions or Descartes’s Discours de la méthode, but rather the “formidable injunction” imposed in 1215 by the Fourth Lateran Council mandating private auricular confession annually.4 From this “institutional incitation” compelling us to speak our inner truth, Foucault proceeds to examine how pastoral power reinforced, nuanced, and refined the self-reflexive stance that the modern subject is required to willingly adopt. Judicial practices—evolving alongside sacramental confession—serve an important function for Foucault in emphasizing that confession is not something that we spontaneously choose for ourselves, but rather something that institutions need from us. There is a nightmarish quality to Foucault’s analysis: just as we think we are freeing ourselves from societal constraints, just as we believe we are finally able to open a window onto our soul and speak our inner truth—ostensibly our one true desire—at this very moment we succumb to webs of power that have been conspiring for centuries to lead us to this self-reflexive posture.5